Michigan has cracked the top four in the College Football Playoff rankings for the first time since Week 13 in 2016.
The top three — No.1 Alabama, No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Notre Dame — continue to sit comfortably in the top four, though the Fighting Irish moved up one spot in this week’s rankings, which were released Tuesday night.
The Wolverines resoundingly defeated Big Ten rival No. 20 Penn State last week to move from No. 5 to No. 4. LSU stumbled from No. 3 to No. 7 after being shut out at home against the dominant Crimson Tide.
“Their defense is extremely strong,” selection committee chairman Rob Mullens said of LSU still being ranked No. 7 despite having two losses. “Their two losses come against No. 1 Alabama, on the road to Florida.”
According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, there is just a 9 percent chance that the top four teams in the CFP rankings will all win out.
Georgia continues to wait patiently just outside the top four, having moved up from No. 6 to No. 5. The Bulldogs clinched the SEC East crown after defeating No. 11 Kentucky on Saturday, and they will face Alabama in the conference championship game.
Kirk Herbstreit says No. 5 Georgia can get itself into the College Football Playoff by beating No. 1 Alabama in the SEC title game.
No. 21 Iowa is the final Big Ten representative in the CFP Top 25 this week.
The Big 12 continues to be led by No. 6 Oklahoma, whose only loss this season was to No. 19 Texas. In the season finale, the Sooners will square off against West Virginia, which jumped from No. 13 to No. 9 this week. Iowa State is ranked No. 22.
The SEC again has a conference-high seven teams in the CFP rankings this week. It is newly represented by No. 24 Auburn after Texas A&M dropped out this week. Florida has lost two straight, to Georgia and Missouri, but is still hanging in at No. 15. Mississippi State comes in at No. 16, with a matchup against Alabama set for Saturday.
Still-perfect UCF stayed even at No. 12 after outlasting Temple 52-40 last week.
“Strong offense, struggling on defense,” Mullens said of UCF.
Fresno State rounded out the Group of 5 teams in this week’s rankings, coming in at No. 23.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.